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MA leaders help mark National Health Center Week

8-17-10 Feature Story:

More than 30 events were held at community health centers throughout the state to mark this year's National Health Center Week. Highlights of the week are included below.

Massachusetts community health centers kicked off National Health Center Week with a press conference led by U.S. Senator John Kerry at Geiger Gibson Community Health Center on Tuesday, August 10. Senator Kerry recognized the historic contributions of community health centers and announced successful passage of critical FMAP funds which will provide Massachusetts with about $450 million in federal Medicaid funding and $205 million in educational funding. The Senator was joined by Massachusetts Health and Human Services Secretary JudyAnn Bigby, MD, Boston City Councilor Maureen Feeney, Harbor Health Services CEO Dan Driscoll, Geiger Gibson Community Health Center Executive Director Lou Brady, and Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers CEO James W. Hunt, Jr.

U.S. Representative William Delahunt and Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch, and League CEO Jim Hunt joined Manet Community Health Center CEO Henry Tuttle in a groundbreaking ceremony for the Center's W. Squantum Street site that will add 11 more patient rooms by next spring.

Click here to read the Patriot Ledger article on the event.

Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino joined with Codman Square Health Center CEO Bill Walczak, Wholesome Wave Chairman Gus Schumacher and 10-year-old patient Makael Constance of Dorchester to promote the Center's Fruit and Veggie Prescription Program, an initiative that enables physicians to prescribe vouchers to their patients for produce sold at local farmers' markets. The program is provided at other Boston health centers as well as Greater Lawrence Family Health Center and Holyoke Health Center.

Click here to read Boston Globe coverage of the event.

U. S. Assistant Secretary for Health and Human Services Dr. Howard Koh, toured North End Community Health Center with Center CEO Jim Luisi. Dr. Koh talked about the important role health centers will play in national reform efforts and praised their 45-year track record for providing high quality, comprehensive and accessible health care. The Assistant Secretary was joined by Massachusetts Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. JudyAnn Bigby, Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner John Auerbach and League CEO Jim Hunt.

Click here to read a Boston Herald article on Dr. Howard Koh's visit.

National Health Center Week provides an annual opportunity to promote the mission and work of health centers in the more than 7,000 communities they serve nationwide. In Massachusetts, 52 health centers provide care to nearly 800,000 residents, offering a broad range of health care and social services through 285 sites statewide. It was 45 years ago that the first health center in the nation was founded in Massachusetts at Columbia Point, Dorchester by physician- activists H. Jack Geiger and Count Gibson. Just two years later, a young Senator Edward M. Kennedy helped to expand the model across the country, creating a federal program that now serves 20 million people.

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